Kerry's Mythological Non-Response


At an appearance yesterday evening at the 92nd Street Y to promote his new book on environmentalism, John Kerry talked about what he called the “mythology” surrounding his weak response to the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Here’s part of an exchange he had with moderator Charlie Rose:

CR: “I know you don’t want to redo that campaign.”

JK: “Actually I do. Let’s go back and recount those votes.”

CR: “That is my very first question. Did you win Ohio or not?”

JK: “I don’t look backwards.”

But just moments later…

CR: “Frequently, people say a stronger, faster response to Swift Boat might have put you in the White House.”

JK: “Well, I’ve heard that. And there’s a certain mythology around that and some people may say that’s true. We did respond. People don’t realize it. They attacked in May. We held a same-day, same-location press conference and put it to bed because what they said were lies. It went away. They came back in June. Again, we held a same-day, same-location press conference. We put it away. They didn’t reappear again until August which is a couple of days after I accepted the nomination which is when I had a 13 week general election compared to George Bush’s eight weeks because we had our nominating convention in the end of July. Theirs was the end of August. We didn’t have the money. We weren’t able to spend. We did respond — we didn’t do it enough. If there’s a complaint that’s legitimate [it] is we should have put more money later into actually advertising against it. But the judgment was made that, number one, Americans wanted to hear something else about their future. And number two, the truth was out there and it had been answered. It was the wrong judgment. It’s a miscalculation. You pay the price for it. I’m responsible. I take the blame. But we did respond. It just wasn’t adequate.”

— Azi Paybarah Kerry's Mythological Non-Response